How to deal with chihuahua possessive behaviour

Chihuahua possessive behaviour

Resource guarding or possessive behaviour towards an object is when your dog guards something he regards as high value. He will defend it with aggression from either you or other dogs. Your chihuahua may show his aggression by snarling to a full-on contact bite if you go near the object or place, he is guarding.

Establishing good behaviour as a puppy

As ever it is a good idea to establish good behaviour while your chihuahua is still a puppy. Get them used to you and other people taking toys and items from her, fishing stuff out her mouth and touching her food bowl.

Puppies are an open book and their behaviour patterns will be guided by you. Establish yourself as the guardian from the start.

Some possessiveness is to be expected and is inbuilt behaviour and goes back to their wild ancestors when dogs had to be possessive over food to survive.

But if your chihuahua is chewing on your Jimmy Choo’s or has something dangerous in her mouth then you need to be able to take it from her without the risk of being bitten.

Chihuahua possessive behaviour can be exhibited by snarling or grumbling under their breath, the curled chihuahua lip, snapping to full-on contact biting when you try and take the object from them. 

.Don’t despair it is possible to nip this possessive behaviour in the bud.

Your body language

First look at how much of this aggressive, possessive behaviour is your dog reacting to your body language. 

She is not eating your Mulberry purse because she wants to be naughty, dogs have no real perception of right or wrong, she is doing it because it’s nice and chewy.

But when you start jumping up and down and waving your arms about in horror and advancing towards her at speed, she will see this behaviour as strange and aggressive, making her fearful and defensive. We know that chihuahuas are fear biters, so the stage is set for a snappy confrontation.

Basic training

Teaching puppy the ‘leave’ command as part of her basic training is also a good idea, but if your chihuahua is way past all of this then we need to do more to change her perception of what is happening. 

So, let’s teach her that good things happen when a person approaches her toys. This is going to involve high value treats, the kind that you dog will sell you for!

Train her to take & let go

Find a toy or object that she likes that you both can hold and praise her when she takes her end. Don’t let go your end and instigate a game of tuggy. After a short game stop playing.

Have an end of game command like ‘thank you’ or ‘give’ and offer her a treat. She will let go of the toy to take the treat and this is the time to praise her as well as give her the treat. Don’t let go of your end of the toy. 

Repeat this process for a few times until she is comfortable letting go of the toy.

Repeat & repeat again

Start again but this time escalate it by letting go of your end of the toy as well. Continue until you can let go of your end of the toy and retrieve it without consequence.


Praise her a lot when she takes up the toy and always when she lets go.

Repeat this activity two or three times on a regular basis and with different toys until she recognises that relinquishing the toy on command is a positive thing, then start to downgrade the treats until verbal praise is the reward.

If you are not confident that your chihuahua is not going to bite you at the start of the process wear a glove, because if you are nervous and timid your dog will pick this up and reflect your body language.

You might like to read:

Dealing with aggressive behaviour.

Socialising your puppy




1 thought on “How to deal with chihuahua possessive behaviour

  1. Barbara jagger Reply

    My chi was 6 when he came to me. He had 4 homes before me. He clung onto one old toy his previous owner had let him have. I bought him loads of new ones and am patient and strong with him, but he still guards. Sometimes a full attack. He is very loving the rest of the time and this is why people have run out of patience with him. I love him and will never let him go

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.